Psychological principles of child development

Many popular children’s authors craft their stories using psychological principles of child development to illustrate main ideas and themes of the story. Visit the children’s section of the library and choose a classic or well – loved story book that is appropriate to be read to children ages 2-6.

It may be a book that you enjoyed someone reading to you as a child, or if you are a parent, it may be a book that you enjoy reading to your own children.

As you read the book, take note of any psychological development topics that the author used in the story. After analyzing the children’s book and identifying the 5 psychological elements included in the story, summarize your results in an analysis essay format. Be sure to include information that addresses all of the developmental psychology elements that you identified in the story.

Use proper essay format and your assignment should be typed, double spaced and minimum 3-5 pages in length. This is an informal essay, (not research based), so first person narrative is appropriate. You do not need to include a cover page and the first page of the essay should be formatted with your name, course number and section and date located in the upper right hand corner. Your essay should also include a title.

Format example: Your Name DEP 2004-72 Date Your Essay Title Psychology and Children’s Literature Analysis Assignment Criteria In your introductory paragraph, include the title of the book, the name of the author, the name of the illustrator and the date of publication Choose a minimum of 5 developmental psychology concepts from the list below that are included as elements in the book/story that you chose.

Describe examples of each of the appropriate concepts that appear in the story. The book that you choose may not include or illustrate all of the topics in the list. You need only to choose and address those concepts that are relevant to the story/book that you chose to review.


(a) Does the story contain elements of rhyme and repetition in the text that promotes thought, language and memory development? Provide a specific example from the story to illustrate your observation.

(b) Do any of the characters in the story exhibit egocentrism/egocentric thoughts and behaviors? (ex. Animals that dress and talk like a child or conflicts or misunderstandings that arise from the main character’s self-centered view ). Use Piaget’s Cognitive Development Theory to identify the cognitive style of the character(s) in the story. Provide a specific example from the story to support your observation.

(c) Do any of the characters in the story exhibit centration in their thinking or relationships with others? (stories about the characters in the book who have only one prominent feature such as a character’s focusing on one special goal, one special object, one special person, one special experience). Use Piaget’s Cognitive Development Theory to explain and support your observation. Provide a specific example from the story to support your observation.

(d) Using the descriptions of cognitive development that Piaget’s Stage Theory provides, what stage of cognitive development would you say that the major characters in the story are reflecting through their behavior and thoughts? Provide a specific example to support your observation.


(e) Using the stage and behavior descriptions of Erikson’s Psycho- Social Development Theory, what stage of psycho social development do you believe the main characters are demonstrating through their behavior and interactions with others and reactions in the story? Provide an example from the story to support your observation.

(f) Were there any effects that resulted from or depended on literal or figurative language? Did the main character or characters demonstrate appropriate symbolic thinking (from Piaget’s theory) or were there misunderstandings because figurative language and symbols were taken literally? Provide an example from the story to support your observation.

(g) Describe story elements that illustrate strong ties of family bonding and friendship, as well as any indications of the temperaments of the main characters. Using Chess’s temperament scale, how would you categorize the temperaments of the major characters in the story? (easy, difficult, inconsistent)? What behaviors did the major characters display that led you to that conclusion? Provide an example from the story to support your observation.

(h) If the story included a parent or caregiver, what kind of parenting style would you say that individual used? Use Baumrind’s Styles of Caregiving Theory (authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, uninvolved) to identify the parenting style. Provide an example from the story to support your observation.

(i) Were there any story elements that reflected a character’s fear or anxiety about separation? If so, how was this anxiety handled in the story? Provide an example from the story to support your observation.

(j) Did the main character experience any identity development issues such as self- esteem issues, gender, bullying, or autonomy development? What issues were addressed and what were the solutions to the issues? Provide an example from the story to support your observation.


What did you think about this assignment?

Did it enable you to see how psychological principles are a part of so many experiences in our lives?

Did you find this activity useful and helpful to you in understanding the psychological components of developmental psychology? If yes, in what ways?

If no, why was it not helpful? Provide at least two reasons to support your conclusion about the assignment. Only need to cite the one book that you use for your essay. This is not a research paper, but more of a reflection essay, so you do not need to cite additional sources.

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